Our Community Learning Volunteer, Jingsi Wang, tells us about her summer placement at the Horniman.
‘If you visited the Horniman this summer, you might have seen someone carrying a magnetic board and asking families to take part in a survey – that was me.
My student work placement at the Horniman was spent with the Community Learning Department helping to complete an evaluation for the summer activity sessions.
There were five different activity sessions in the 2016 summer programme: Horniman Explorers, A World of Stories, Big Wednesdays, Horniman Wildlife and Art and Craft.
How did I do the evaluation?
To evaluate the session, I collected the opinions and feedback from families taking part. Our focus was on the learning outcomes of each session – whether people gained a closer connection with the Horniman’s collections and whether they learnt about different cultures and the wider world.
To see if these learning objections were achieved, we came up with two evaluation methods: Bullseye and the Inspiration Wall.
Bullseye was the main method of evaluation. It was a large piece of paper with a black-and-white bullseye pattern stuck onto a magnetic board. The disc was divided into six equal sections and each section represented one question or statement from our learning objectives.
Visitors used magnets as their ‘darts’ on the disc. On a scale of one to five – one is the top and five is the lowest – the closer they put the magnets to the centre, the more they enjoyed themselves.
Some learning objections can’t be examined by scoring, for instance, there’s one which is ‘encouraging curiosity and self-led discovery’. This is where the Inspiration Wall played its part. The Inspiration Wall is a flipchart board with an open-ended question on the top. People were invited to write their answers on the paper.
We tried to ensure that each session was evaluated equally. Now the summer has come to an end, all the statistics will be analysed to help us understand the strengths and limitations of the learning outcomes.
People at the Horniman are really nice and helpful – both visitors and everyone in the office and I was happy to experience every session of the whole summer programme during this evaluation. I learnt a lot during the process, such as the importance of adjusting and always having a Plan B. The best part of this student placement is that I was given the opportunity to put theory into practice and get a deeper understanding of how it feels to work in a museum.
I have had various volunteering experiences before but this is my first time doing something so specific, focused and consistent in a museum. This summer has shown me the whole process of the initiating, growing and completing the evaluation of the summer programme at the Horniman, from the very beginning until the end – a challenging yet worthwhile task.
I always say that I could not think of any better way to spend my summer than doing my student placement here at the Horniman. This summer may have come to an end, but it is really just another beginning!’
Find out more about how you can volunteer at the Horniman.